By Jim Favors
While driving across the state of Florida Lisa and I were listening to the radio and humming to “Proud Mary,” a classic Ike and Tina Turner tune from the early 1970s. I couldn’t help but marvel at how the line in the song, “people on the water are happy to give” rang so true to me as we made our way to Tampa to get aboard a North Pacific 28 trailerable trawler. I reference the lyrics in Proud Mary because the folks who own the boat we were going to see were virtual strangers to us and yet they were willing to take the time to open up their boat for us to tour. The boating community is just that way, always willing to give a helping hand.
Earlier in our trip, I spoke with Trevor Brice, at the North Pacific Yachts factory, about finding one of their trailer trawler models in Florida, he offered to make contact with owners Rod and Anna to arrange for us to tour their boat – it was the only one located in Florida. They were more than happy to do so and emailed us shortly after talking with Trevor to arrange a meeting time and place.
Anna and Rod next to their North Pacific 28, Scarecrow. The feature they liked most about this boat are these sliding pilothouse doors.
We met Rod and Anna at the marina where they dock their 28’ North Pacific Trawler. They had arrived a bit before us and the boat had its doors wide open and ready for our tour. Although North Pacific has been building boats since 2004, the 28 is a relatively new model for them. Rod and Anna have only owned their new boat for one year and bought it for the specific purpose of doing the Great Loop boat trip, which they will embark on some time in March 2011. When we first saw the boat, tied up port side to the dock, it appeared larger than its 28-foot length, probably because of its more traditional trawler lines. Rod explained that one of the deciding factors for them choosing this boat over another had to do with the dedicated raised pilothouse with the sliding doors on both port and starboard sides. They also went on to state that their working relationship with Trevor, during and after the boat was built, has been nothing but positive.
The North Pacific 28’s pilothouse, like the rest of the boats interior, has a classic tug feel and features a finely crafted teak wood finish.
In our search and research for a trailerable trawler, we’ve tried to talk with as many current owners as possible. The saying “where the rubber meets the road” comes to mind and says a lot about how consumer satisfaction has a lot to do with a company’s success. What we’ve found so far has been an impressive state of affairs for most of these boat-building companies we’ve been exploring. The market will surely favor those companies that take care of their present and future customers.
In addition to Rod and Anna’s positive comments about their experience with North Pacific Yachts, we also met Mike and Judy, at the Trawler Fest, (Ft. Lauderdale) a couple from Ohio who own a Ranger Tug 25. We were all on board one of the Rangers when I happened to comment about how Ranger seemed to pack a lot into 27 feet. They agreed and shared some positive comments about the company’s willingness to educate and support their customers, even after the sale is complete. They were at the Trawler Fest to look at the larger 29 and you could tell from their comments that they were so pleased with the 25 that it wouldn’t be long before they upsized to the larger one. The important thing for me was that their comments were unsolicited. He stated how easy the company was to work with, that when he called them they’d either help or guide him immediately or call him back in a short period of time. When a current customer makes these types of comments about a product or company, it sure makes it easier to think about doing business with them yourself. It makes so much sense to me I wonder why all businesses don’t take care of their customers like this?
Buoy fenders are very useful for boaters but these monsters might be a just little big for a trailerable trawler!
Jim and Mim made contact with us before we left for our trip to Florida. They have, over the years, owned a Nordic Tug 32 and 37’ before downsizing to a trailerable trawler. They currently have a Rosborough RF-246 on order and have dealt with Rosborough’s marketing rep Peter Brown as well as the owner, Bob Rosborough. Jim made this comment to me, “Both have been true gentlemen and have never pushed.” The interesting thing for me is that Jim reached out to us to help us in our research, he had positive comments about many boat lines and constructive suggestions on why he ultimately chose Rosborough, including but not limited to its unsinkable, solid construction, sliding side doors and extended cockpit roof, not to mention a good working relationship with Peter.
Recently I’ve written that Lisa and I like to walk the docks of marinas to see boats and meet people traveling the Great Loop. Last summer, on one such outing, we met another couple, Pete and Anna at the city marina in Traverse City, Michigan. They were flying the AGLCA burgee so we stopped to say hello and to offer any assistance with local knowledge. Pete and Anna are from Massachusetts, own a Nordic Tug 32 and were just a couple of months into their 6,000-mile Great Loop adventure. While in Marathon, during our Florida trip, Lisa and I were picking up supplies at the grocery store and guess who we ran into? You guessed it, Pete and Anna on Blue Yonder.
We spotted this 1996 Nordic Tug 26 in Traverse City last summer; many call this boat the original trailerable trawler.
I saw them over by the dairy section (sounds like the start of a country western song) and commented to Lisa, “Isn’t that the couple from the Nordic Tug we met in Traverse City last summer?” We got their attention and chatted for a while, they told us about their Looping experiences and we shared with them the reason we were in Florida. Pete stated that their prior boat had been a Nordic Tug 26 and that it was a very solid, reliable boat, one they had been very happy with. Even though the NT 26 is a very roomy boat and one very suitable for our needs, they stated that the only reason for trading it in for a NT 32 was a personal desire to have a larger boat to do the Great Loop boat trip. As we went our separate ways I couldn’t help but wonder how fortunate it was for us to bump into someone that had owned a Nordic Tug 26 and could tell us a little bit about its virtues.
With a slightly wider beam (9’7”), this 1996 Nordic Tug interior is a little roomier than most trailerable trawlers.
Another helpful trailerable trawler owner contacted us recently to suggest I check the different factory owner’s group forums to get better insight into their respective boats. I took the advice and discovered a wealth of information about how the current owners use their boats, where they travel to, how they overcame trailering issues, how they found boat ramps and a host of other topics. Each boat company we’ve written about has an owner’s group; this is a powerful tool not only for the new owner but for a prospective buyer as well. When you have a situation to solve or explore you have a ready network of fellow boaters who have a wealth of knowledge and are more than happy to help you remedy a problem or give some insight.
From reading posts on some of the forums, I learned of a simple but very important tool for this type of boating is an inland lakes guidebook to show where marinas and boat ramps are located? Where does one find a source for paper charts for inland lakes or rivers? Sure, I could surf the net but wouldn’t it be useful to have some input from a fellow boater who already has the answer? As I was writing this log for BoatUS, I sent an email off to one of the forums to see if I could find some answers to a few of my “newbie” questions. What I’ve found is that each time I visit one of these forums I discover a slew of even more intriguing topics, a few I hadn’t even had time to think of myself yet, such as those that cover trailer bunks, various rendezvous, diesel maintenance, battery charging, newsletters and more. The owner forums, websites, etc. are just another example of how boaters are more than willing to share and help one another, a win-win situation for everyone involved.
There are many websites, forums and individual blogs out there, here are a few of the ones I found to have the most comprehensive contributions:
Ranger Tugs: www.tugnuts.com
North Pacific: www.northpacificowners.com
Nordic Tugs: www.nentoa.org
As Lisa and I fly back to the frozen tundra of northern Michigan, with our short boating fix behind us, we find ourselves more anxious to get out of the “dreaming” mode and back into the “doing” mode. After this trip, our path is a little more defined and we are beginning to get a clearer picture in our minds about how our future boating vessel and lifestyle will look like. A big thanks to everyone who helped us on this research tour and quest for our future Kismet.